|Description||The Coastal Commission meeting took place on Wednesday, May 9 through Friday, May 11 at the Board of Supervisors’ Chamber in Santa Rosa. The May meeting agenda had several important issues including sea level rise, short-term rentals, beach preservation and water quality. Notably, the Commission passed an LCP update by the City and County of San Francisco for coastal hazards and sea level rise at Ocean Beach. Additionally, the County of Santa Barbara’s proposed short-term rental LCP update was denied. Finally, the Oxnard Harbor District’s proposed dredging project was certified for offshore deposition but prohibited for beach nourishment due to potential impacts to the beach profile and water quality.|
Issues voted on at this Meeting
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|Hueneme Beach Sediment Deposition||The Oxnard Harbor District, as part of the Port of Hueneme Deepening Project, proposed to place 30,000 cubic yards of sediment dredged from the Port of Hueneme at two sites that have been identified to receive the dredged material. The first site is an approximately 9-acre area of Hueneme Beach that is located immediately seaward of the Port, and the second site is an approximately 27-acre nearshore area that is located adjacent to Hueneme Beach. Staff recommended approval of the proposal with special conditions to protect sensitive species, water quality and public access, noting that initial sampling found the sediment consistent with environmental thresholds.
The Surfrider Foundation Ventura County Chapter expressed opposition on two accounts. First, the dredged material is not entirely non-toxic and deposits of more toxic sediment may end up on a beach where children play and sensitive species reside. Second, the dredges material is made up of 25% fine sediments which will result in poor water quality and high turbidity, which is dangerous for swimmers and impacts the surfing wave because it will create a steep beach face. Surfrider asked that the sediment be placed entirely offshore and not directly on the beach.
Commissioners agreed to err on the side of caution and prohibit the sediment from being placed on Hueneme Beach and amended the staff recommendation as such. The motion passed unanimously.
|San Francisco Western Shoreline Area Plan LCP Amendment||The City and County of San Francisco proposed to amend their Land Use Plan (LUP), also referred to as the Western Shoreline Area Plan, by adding new policies related to coastal hazards. The proposed amendment primarily addresses erosion, flooding, and sea level rise along the Ocean Beach shoreline in San Francisco’s coastal zone and transforms some of the broad visions on these points developed through the Ocean Beach Master Plan planning process into a set of LCP policies that provide direction at a similarly broad level of detail. The proposed amendment requires the City to develop and implement proactive adaptation measures applicable to the most severe areas of erosion south of Sloat Boulevard, including managed retreat and beach nourishment, and outlines a framework for the development of future adaptation measures along the entire shoreline based upon best available science. In that sense, the proposed amendment is primarily a statement of the City’s overall intentions, and a precursor to further LCP work.
The Surfrider Foundation’s San Francisco chapter and San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR) spoke in support of the amendment. Surfrider especially supported the change in policy that calls for managed retreat of the Great Highway and parking lots in a two-phase plan and the preferred use of soft measures for erosion emergencies over hard armoring.
Commissioner Aaron Peskin motioned to approve the LUP update, describing it as “forward-thinking.” The motion passed unanimously.
|Santa Barbara County short-term rentals||Santa Barbara County requested an amendment to its Local Coastal Program (LCP) to add new regulations to address short-term rentals and homestays. As proposed, the amendment excludes short-term rentals from residential zoning districts, except within a proposed Short-term Rentals Coastal Historic Overlay in the residentially zoned neighborhood of Miramar Beach. The amendment allows for homestays in residential zones.
The California Coastal Protection Network (CCPN) spoke in opposition to the County’s proposal, along with several residents. CCPN opposed the ban due to its conflicts with the Coastal Commission’s mandate to protect maximum public access, stating that reasonable short-term regulations are acceptable but de facto bans are not the answer and that the staff recommendation with suggested modifications to allow homestays and short-term rentals in guest houses in residential zones is inadequate and will do little to mitigate the de facto ban.
The County’s proposal to ban short-term rentals in residential zones with the sole exception of Miramar beach is suspect. The homes at Miramar are very expensive and located adjacent to the Rosewood Miramar Resort developed by Rick Caruso, who has referred to the resort as “the most expensive hotel in California.” With these two exclusive lodging options, the beach will effectively become a private beach for those who can afford to stay there.
Ultimately, Commissioners agreed that the County of Santa Barbara needs to reconsider their short-term rental ordinance proposal and denied the LCP amendment in a 7-3 vote.